The MV Golden Ray is a 656-foot vessel (200-metre-long) car carrier built in 2017, she capsized in the St. Simons Sound near the Port of Brunswick in Georgia, United States on September 8, 2019 with 23 crew members, a Pilot and 4,200 cars onboard. All crew members and the American Pilot were rescued.
The Marshall Islands-flagged vessel has been sitting in the St. Simons Sound for nearly nine months now. The Unified Command responsible for the salvage operation, have spent months dealing with environmental concerns and prepping the ship for removal.
Over the past nine months, the salvage team removed more than 320,000 gallons of oil and water mixture from the ship, built an environmental protection barrier and prepped the ship to be cut into eight pieces. They have put chains around the ship that will literally saw into it and cut it into eight parts. They’ll use lifting lugs and cranes to put the pieces on a barge to be taken out.
“We know we’re going to drop some vehicles when we start cutting and lifting these pieces, so that netting is designed to try to keep those large submerge debris inside the EPB (environmental protection barrier),” said Commander Norm Witt.
Back in February, the Golden Ray’s previous salvage team claimed cutting the ship into large pieces could cause an environmental catastrophe.
According to Commander Witt, a perimeter of pilings have been driven into the seafloor and 150-foot sections of mesh netting make up the barrier protecting the environment from the potential discharge.
— Alex Osiadacz (@AlexOsiadacz) June 18, 2020
As per Commander Witt, with an estimate of one week per section, it will take about 8 weeks to cut the vessel in 8 pieces. The cutting process is expected to start by mid-July and will be completed by mid-September. However, weather conditions can delay the whole operation.
The Coast Guard says its investigation report will be released in September — one year after the ship capsized.
Here is a video of the planned salvage operation of the ill-fated Golden Ray Ship: